BLOG: STAGE WITH A SLOPE

The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool used to be called the Neptune Theatre. It is a lovely old theatre in the city centre of Liverpool, and it was refurbished about three years ago. In The Netherlands that probably would have meant that all the original features would have been knocked down and nothing on the inside would have reminded anyone of how it used to be.
 
I arrived at the theatre at 2 and the first person I found was a young girl (about 8 years old), who when she saw me asked me if I was looking for the box office. When I told her I was looking for the band she replied that they were sound checking and that she would show me where I could find them. She showed me the way to the main room, where the others were setting up their equipment, and disappeared again, returning every now and again to hand out sweets or to relocate the theatre cats.
 
However lovely the theatre may look, it presented us with a couple of problems. Sound engineer Ben had already warned me a couple of days ago about the slope of the stage, and I must say it was worse than I’d thought. Half the stage has a bit of a slope and a not-so-slippery floor. The other half has a way bigger slope and a very slippery floor. I know some theatres have a stage with a slope, but I’ve never performed (read: danced) in one. So I decided to start with going through my dance routines. Quite a challenge for my balance, but I managed to get used to it quite quickly.
 
After a good sound check (with my mic actually working this time), we found out that our show had been advertised with different times, so instead of a show time of 7:30, we couldn’t start till 8. I could only hope everyone who had to catch a train would still be able to do so.
 
I got on stage, knowing the volume button on my in ear monitor pack might not be in the right place, so I was prepared for a first set with not much monitor sound. During ‘Moving’, I tried finding a moment to signal to Ben I didn’t get anything on my monitor, but it’s quite hard to signal while you’re dancing. Even waving wouldn’t be a clear sign, and I tried to figure out a way to tell anyone backstage I couldn’t hear anything, but considering the costume changes (and not having anyone to help me with them), I decided to give up and once again take out one of my earpieces.
 
The response from the crowd was amazing, even at the start of the first set, even though it was incredibly hard work without a decent sound on stage. As soon as I got off stage though, Jerney told me none of the others had any sound on stage, meaning everyone had just played the toughest set possible: the band had managed to pretty much stay together while they couldn’t hear each other, which is very, very hard work. They had warned the in house engineer no one could hear anything on stage several times, to which he had replied he had sent Ben an email about it. For the record: that isn’t a proper response for a technical issue of this size. Most shows would have been stopped to solve an issue like this… It’s a bit like sending a postcard to the fire brigade to tell them your house is on fire.
 
Intermission was a lot of cursing and running around by our own people. A reset on the in house equipment solved the issue, so our monitors finally worked! We did a little dance backstage and immediately went on with the second set. While I hadn’t been able to find one of my shoes for Them Heavy People, I now found myself wearing the shoes during Hounds of Love. I decided to improvise and ‘throw them in the lake’ at some point during the song. With more costume issues than usual (for some reason the braces for Cloudbusting had decided to come off, after which my leg got caught in them when I put on my trousers), I got through the second set. The Big Sky appeared to be the most dangerous part of the show that night, even though there’s hardly any dancing going on; my shiny stiletto heel boots combined with the slippery slope made it virtually impossible to walk around (mind you: I can run for the bus in those boots!).
 
As much as last Thursday was stressful, this was even harder work. The crowd was great though, resulting in a lot of response and a standing ovation, which made all the hard work worthwhile.
 
After only a couple of hours of sleep, we are now on our way to London. Let’s see what surprises today has in store for us… 

3 comments

  • dave edwards

    dave edwards liverpool

    great show non-less good luck with london show was fantastic

    great show non-less good luck with london show was fantastic

  • Steph Baker

    Steph Baker Merseyside

    Once again a wonderful show. Couldn't tell you had sound problems either. Enjoy rest of your tour

    Once again a wonderful show. Couldn't tell you had sound problems either. Enjoy rest of your tour

  • Newt

    Newt

    when we said break a leg it was not meant literally! Great recovery though.Considering the venue limitations it was an incredible show and the standing ovation was fully deserved.Look forward to your return, especially now that you are an adopted Scouser.

    when we said break a leg it was not meant literally! Great recovery though.Considering the venue limitations it was an incredible show and the standing ovation was fully deserved.Look forward to your return, especially now that you are an adopted Scouser.

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